It’s not a secret that I love staycations and Airbnb is one of my favorite booking platforms. You can find rentals that aren’t available in regular booking sites — from stylish condo units in cities to lovely beach houses and resthouses in idyllic farms or mountainside. I use Airbnb for mini-vacations and sometimes when I want a new space to work to.
Here I’m going to tell you about my favorite Airbnb staycations in or near Manila.
What I look for in Airbnb units
As I said above, I use Airbnb a lot but I don’t always post about it here. I only post about the really good ones.
Here are the the things I look for in an Airbnb unit:
- Design and aesthetics. I love beautiful architecture. Having IG-worthy corners is just a result of good style.
- Location. I prefer listings that are only 1-2 hours away from Manila. Anything further is fine as well as long as I’m able to book at least 2 nights, since commuting or driving can get pretty tiring. I also consider its distance from the nearest commercial space, particularly stores and restaurants.
- Accessibility. Is it mobile friendly? I don’t mind a little walk every now and then, but I don’t want to spend my energy just moving from one space to another. Hali and I once booked a small beach-front house that overlooks the ocean, but going to the beach area requires climbing down a flight of 100+ steps. It was tiring and we only went for a swim once.
- Activities. I love staycations but at the same time I don’t want to be stuck in a room for the whole day. I prefer other activities to be available, whether it’s strolling around a farm, taking a dip in a pool or a beach, videoke or other entertainment or access to good restaurants or cafes nearby that I can visit.
These are basically the deciding factors for me when choosing which to book and whether I like it.
Now that’s out of the way, here are my favorite Airbnb staycations!
1. Ataalaya Farmhouse (Alitagtag, Batangas)
Ataalaya Farmhouse is a private bed-and-breakfast located in Alitagtag, Batangas. The house sits across a hill facing Taal Lake and Mount Maculot on the side.
One of my first thoughts about Ataalaya Farmhouse is that it’s the most beautiful Airbnb I’ve seen and that is still true. The views are amazing and the two-story house is exceptional as well, with a prominent Filipino design mixed with Cape Dutch and Indian styles.
There’s an outdoor jacuzzi, where you can take photos with Taal Lake in the background. There’s also a farm across the house which you can visit if you wish to see some animals.
2. Narra Hill (Tagaytay, Cavite)
Narra Hill is a hidden gem located about 30 minutes from the city proper of Tagaytay.
This bed-and-breakfast features cottages and rooms facing a lush mountainside in Tagaytay. There is a dipping pool and a narrow swimming pool where you can swim and relax. In terms of IG-worthiness, this certainly ticks the boxes.
A friend and I booked a premiere suite near the swimming pool, and it was great. I particularly love the bathtub in the bathroom.
Narra Hill also serves delicious meals for an additional fee. This is where I tasted one of the best cassava cakes I’ve had.
3. Little House by the Beach (Lobo, Batangas)
Little House by the Beach is a private beach house in Barangay Sawang in Lobo, Batangas. It’s about 3 hours away from Manila.
I saw this listing when I was looking for a last-minute booking for the holidays. I went with Hali, my sister and nephew and we had a good time.
The beach house features a narrow but well-used space, with one bed and couch. It also has a fully furnished kitchen and two bathrooms. I find the design quirky and inspired, with heavy doors, old-fashioned kitchen area with hanging pots and pans, and nautical-themed decorations.
The best thing about the Little House by the Beach is that it’s located across a snorkeling area filled with healthy corals and fishes, so you can easily don a pair of aqua shoes and snorkeling gear and set off to a fun underwater discovery.
Lobo is a popular location for snorkeling and diving, so you might want to book here during off-peak season to enjoy the place to yourselves.
4. Lily Vacation Farmhouse (Jalajala, Rizal)
Lily Vacation Farmhouse is private resort located in Jalajala, Rizal. It’s a little out of the day, especially if you’re used to going to more accessible locations such as Laguna, Cavite or Batangas, but it’s worth the drive.
This place features a beautiful house with a swimming pool. There are 3 bedrooms and a kitchen; outdoor cottages and tents are also available if you’re a large group.
There are various activities available including horseback riding, ATV ride and visit to the animals in the farm.
It’s a good choice for a group of friends or families, even for special celebrations.
5. Casa Belinda (Lipa, Batangas)
Casa Belinda is a private resort in Lipa, Batangas. I like it for its aesthetics and location — it’s only a few minutes from the center of Lipa but also secluded enough so you can enjoy a quiet stay.
I went here with a group of friends. Hali and I got the standalone two-bedroom cottage, which is just beside the lettuce farm. There are also individual rooms available by the poolside.
Casa Belinda features a swimming pool, jacuzzi and lounge where you can play billiards and other games. You can also visit the lettuce plantation and animal houses and even order organic lettuce you can eat on your meals or take home.
As above, this is a good option for groups.
So far, these are my favorite Airbnb staycations near Manila. Do you have other suggestions? Let me know in the comments below!
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).